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Old 17th November 2010, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default UP approval on guitar amps.

So-- Does a guitar amp that is being sold in the US need a UL approval? As far as I know, if it plugs into the wall, and it is going to be sold for a profit, it need this basic approval. Of course this dosent include DIY items and kit's, but I look at the backs of many of the Boutique amps and,, Na Da! This voilation of the law seems to be more rampit in the guitar amp busness, perhaps because testing and approval costs 1000's of dollars, and there is kind of a renigade attitude in the amp busness anyway. I would not like to be a shop owner who took on one of these low volume brands only to be sucked into a law suit when someone's house burned. I would be intrested in reading peoples thoughts.

Last edited by firechief; 17th November 2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 17th November 2010, 09:52 PM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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UL certification is not a requirement, it is merely a certification that your product meets certain minimum safety standards. A store may chose not to sell anything without it, but that is their choice, not a requirement. SO there is no violation of the law. Underwriters Lab is not a government agency.

If someone's house burns because of an amplifier, then having the UL certification may be a plus, but it doesn;t let the amp maker off any hooks, it is not a free pass. And if your amp is not listed, that doesn;t remove the burden of proving the amp caused the fire, if it comes to a court suit.
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Old 17th November 2010, 09:57 PM   #3
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Enzo - Thank you for clearing that up. I think that it is likely manufactures will go for the certification most of the time, but economic constraints make it difficult for some small guys.
Bob
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Old 17th November 2010, 11:47 PM   #4
Volkum is offline Volkum  United States
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Safety/emissions/compliance certifications are much more important when shipping commercial electronics products internationally than domestically. Most countries require certain certs depending on the product classification (i.e. telecom equipment) otherwise your shipment can be detained by customs if caught. I agree with Enzo--don't worry about UL when shipping only in the US.
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Old 23rd November 2010, 11:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firechief View Post
So-- Does a guitar amp that is being sold in the US need a UL approval? As far as I know, if it plugs into the wall, and it is going to be sold for a profit, it need this basic approval.
I don't know, but something is wrong because... (read on)

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Originally Posted by firechief View Post
...I look at the backs of many of the Boutique amps and,, Na Da! This voilation of the law seems to be more rampit in the guitar amp busness, perhaps because testing and approval costs 1000's of dollars, and there is kind of a renigade attitude in the amp busness anyway. I would not like to be a shop owner who took on one of these low volume brands only to be sucked into a law suit when someone's house burned. I would be intrested in reading peoples thoughts.
Exactly! What would be the legal recourses of someone who's house did catch fire because of this amplifier? Is it "every amp builder beware of lawsuits?" Can the owner of the amp (and the house, more importantly), sue the amp builder? Actually, could he still sue him if the amplifier is approved?

These are interesting legal matters that I will have to discuss with someone I know. And I don't think the country matters.

Until then, check your amps!
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Old 23rd November 2010, 11:41 PM   #6
BudP is offline BudP  United States
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The situation in the European Union is very different from that in the US or Canada, though Canada is getting towards the EU position.

In the EU the safety agencies are a part of the government apparatus. There are fixed fines for death by electronic equipment failure and further investigations into manslaughter charges, based upon individual countries in the EU. Meeting the relevant Ce6500 standards automatically provides a pass for UL and CSA. Meeting the UL CSA standards is an automatic pass in the EU for 95% of the covered items.

There is no law, except within the city limits of LA. CA. that requires any form of safety agency approval in the USA. However, if a company gets into a jam in a law suit, and all of the sub component suppliers are also drug into it, which is usual, a UL cert means quite a bit to the court. Sub component suppliers having at least paid heed to UL standards will also be taken into consideration and may eliminate the sub component supplier from the group legal action. It is a dam*ed expensive mess in the US, Much more cut and dried in the EU, unless it happens in Italy, where apparently everyone is guilty before being charged and all are just awaiting arrest.... same as in Louisiana, here in the USA.

Bud
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Old 23rd November 2010, 11:48 PM   #7
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Bud,
I would wonder about the insurance aspect. A homeowners policy may be void if the insurance company can make a reasonable case that the non-UL or ULC (finally!) device is at fault. I would think that a shock hazard and personal injury may be more likely. Who wants that lawsuit?

Personally, some safety approval should be required. Even a local hydro (electric company) approval would help here. Without something like this, your first court case may force a complete inspection and testing anyway. The stakes are now far too high though.

-Chris
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Old 23rd November 2010, 11:49 PM   #8
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Very intresting indeed. Much more to it than I thought. I started this thread because as you might have guessed I am contemplating going into consumer electronics manufacturing. The answer is, as in so many legal matters, (it depends). I was really laboring under the impression tha the UP seal was mandatory.
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:00 AM   #9
BudP is offline BudP  United States
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A full on UL evaluation, with pre-submittal overview and first look at your product is about $10K, assuming there are voltages over 30vac rms within the user interface box. If you have a UL approved wall wort in place of bringing the 120 v 60 Hz into the box the user touches, you will find a much smaller charge. Then you are faced with non safety low voltage or safety low voltage concerns, divided by that 30 vac rms dotted line. Avail yourself of this pre-meeting, the UL inspector is paid by the successful completion of cases, to some now unknown %. He will tell you everything he sees wrong up front. You will have to open a case and pay those fee's before you do this, but the time line from first look to actual submittal is elastic. Check over on the Pass Labs forum for even more information. Safety issues and CE Certification

Bud
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Old 24th November 2010, 12:04 AM   #10
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...unless it happens in Italy, where apparently everyone is guilty before being charged and all are just awaiting arrest.... same as in Louisiana, here in the USA.

Bud
Bud, you crack me up!


Howdy Chris
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